STEP INTO A WORLD LESS ORDINARY
[ About the Book ]
A space-obsessed child conjures up a vortex in his mother’s airing cupboard. A musician finds her friendship with a flock of birds opens up unexpected possibilities. A rat catcher, summoned to a decaying royal palace, is plunged into a battle for the throne of a ruined kingdom. Two newlyweds find themselves inhibited by the arrival in their lives of an outsized and watchful stuffed bear.
Whether snared in traps artfully laid for them, or those of their own making, the characters in Naomi Ishiguro’s delightfully speculative debut collection yearn for freedom and flight, and find their worlds transformed beyond their wildest imaginings.
Book Overview and a Few Personal Thoughts….
Escape Routes is the debut collection of short stories from Naomi Ishiguro and will be published with Tinder Press on February 6th. It is described as a book that is ‘characterised by its own brand of pleasingly unsettling magic…. matches the inventiveness of David Mitchell with the fairy-tale allure of Angela Carter. ‘
Escape Routes is a VERY eclectic mix of stories, all centred around the themes of traps, flight and freedom. We are introduced to different characters all looking for something beyond what they have, all seeking the elusive, the unreachable. Naomi Ishiguro takes this concept and introduces the possibility of the seemingly impossible.
Using everyday situations the reader is taken on a fantastical journey into the mind of Naomi Ishiguro, a rather quirky place, a place where nothing is beyond conceivable.
“How different ‘The Unknown’ was from the way his life had been up to now; how ‘The Unknown’ could maybe even provide something of an escape route from the repetitive rhythms from season to season of a life lived in a world surrounded on all sides by sheep. Jamie was, though, careful not to let any one consideration dominate. Instead he tried his best to hold his mind in a state of pure possibility and uncertainty, his reasoning here being based on the immense fragility of ‘The Unknown’, in that the very second it becomes substantial enough to think about in concrete terms, it stops being itself.…“
– Shearing Season
Like any collection of short stories, there are some in this book that I favoured over others and, if I’m honest, there were mystical moments that did seem to go right over my head, but that may be for many reasons. The author states that ‘I hope too that they will strike a particular chord with young people trying to forge ways through an ever confusing world that still sometimes, on good days, manages to feel bewilderingly full of possibilities‘ I’m very much in favour of encouraging young people to grab hold of their lives and to see beyond the obvious, to embrace different challenges and to question the status quo. Naomi Ishiguro most definitely achieves that sense of exploration, that searching for the unattainable.
The message in Escape Routes is quite clear throughout. Naomi Ishiguro writes about letting go, about letting our imaginations run wild and about removing the shackles that we wrap ourselves up in, those self-imposed chains that tie us down and prevent us perhaps being the best version of ourselves. She encourages the reader to be mindful, to live in the moment, to just be….
“I suppose she was what all those trite time-wasting lifestyle magazines would call ‘living in the moment’. She hardly seemed to speculate about the future and she never talked about the past…..and she seemed perfect in her actions not because they were superbly time-saving and energy-efficient like my own but because they were contentedly leading absolutely nowhere.
They had no purpose or agenda beyond themselves and so occupied space and time with absolute elegance.“
Escape Routes is a very alternative and interesting collection of short stories. While I did not completely ‘grasp’ the stories fully, I could extract the importance of the message the author was relaying through her writing. Society is struggling with attempting to make sense of the world today or as Naomi Ishiguro puts it – ‘modern life’s many absurdities‘
An offbeat debut with a touch of the fairy tale… and that can only be a good thing!
[ Bio ]
Naomi Ishiguro studied writing at the University of East Anglia and is a former bookseller and bibliotherapist at Mr B.’s Emporium in Bath.
She lives in London.
Twitter ~ @NaomiIshiguro